From marches to prayer meetings and, of course, Freedom Day celebrations, there’s been plenty going on recently to make us think about what it means to be South African. While you ponder, we’ve paid homage to traditional fare from all parts of the rainbow nation, with a round up of our favourite ‘local is lekker’ restaurants. Food for thought, indeed.
The Bo-Kaap comes to Joburg with a menu that puts an exciting spin on Cape Malay classics – think smoor snoek with a peach and chilli tang, steak gatsbys infused with garam masala spice and a curry leaf pesto, or banana split with a traditional boeber ice cream.
This Emmarentia eatery is perhaps best known as the place to get the best milk tart in town – but if you don’t have a sweet tooth, try out the bredies, denning or bobotie. Vegetarians are also catered for with veggie curries.
Bergbron Plaaskombuis en Padstal
You really do feel as though you’re sitting on the stoep outside a farmhouse kitchen at this quaintly themed nursery eatery. It’s a step back in time to when the Aga ruled the kitchen instead of the microwave, and you didn’t need Banting as a reason to tuck into a hearty egg and bacon breakfast. Our favourites? Melkkos like your ma would make, gemmer bier that makes your throat tingle, and vetkkoek done the old fashioned way.
Although the odd Mediterranean or Asian-inspired dish makes its way onto the menu, there are some great plates that would, indeed, be welcome at any table in the Free State and beyond: think skilpadjies and pumpkin fritters for breakfast, or oxtail and lamb chops for something a little more hearty. After your meal, be sure to wander around the café’s home of Karoo Square – the complex prides itself on providing a home for Pretoria’s creative community, making it a feast for the senses.
Roving Bantu Kitchen
The brainchild of Sifiso Ntuli who, having established the live music venue House of Nsako, is something of a Brixton institution, regulars love this restaurant because it’s so much more than an ordinary eatery. If you won’t compromise on white serviettes and table cloths, give it a skip; on the other hand, if you’re looking for a place to get chatting to the latest hot hustler, play a board game or even watch a movie, make a reservation now. Look out for jerk chicken, morogo, mogodu and butterbean curry on the menu.
Die Bosvelder Pub & Restaurant
You’ll find a little bit of everything on the menu here, from pap fingers served with monkey gland sauce to marrowbones, lamb’s tails, tripe and kaiings.
Bringing chesa’nyama to Maboneng, Sha’p Braai invites you to choose your meat, starch and sides, and leave the tongs to the braai masters.
KZN ‘expats’ often bemoan their inability to find a bunny or Durban-style in Joburg that matches up to their hometown standards. So, if they give Holi Cow a stamp of approval, it’s bound to be good. Although owner Yadikha Sujanani serves up a range of spicy dishes with origins as diverse as Morocco and Sri Lanka, her Durban curry definitely deserves a mention – best enjoyed in the relaxing garden setting of her Fourways café.
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